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Sony Offers a "Premium Sound" SD Card For a Premium Price 213

nateman1352 (971364) writes "Don't you just hate all that noise your memory cards make? No? Then you probably aren't going to want to buy Sony's new $160 memory cards, which the company brags offers "Premium Sound" that generates less electrical noise when reading data." As long as it works well with my hi-fi ethernet cable.
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Sony Offers a "Premium Sound" SD Card For a Premium Price

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  • And a Monster Cable USB cable. Not really. But the VGA card in my 286 used to make noise when it was scrolling a block of text.
    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      That's not even limited to ancient gear. My old PC at work did that, and it had a dual core processor so it wasn't _that_ old. It was kind of a weird long drawn out high pitched "dragging" sound.. very annoying.

      • Some newer PCs actually made things worse: with the adoption of better power-saving features, it became quite common for the CPU frequency to move up and down depending on whether it was idling or you were throwing something at it at the time, rather than always running at the same frequency.

        I had one 'delightful' system where the lousy onboard sound chip was apparently using the CPU clock as a timebase, despite the system being new enough that dynamic clock speed adjustment had been routine for several
        • You should have demanded your money back. You let the bastards get away with it and not only did they not fix it, they cripled the CPU freq scaling as a "fix".

          • I would have liked to; but(thankfully) I wasn't on the procurement side in the case of that particular job(given the nightmare that was our PO system, I am most grateful). Ultimately pragmatism won out over principle and(for the small subset of affected users) we got some $5 c-media USB sound cards, which proceeded to work perfectly regardless of CPU frequency.

            It was one of those situations where the villains skated free; but the number of hours it would have taken on the phone, fighting it out between t
        • Sigma Sound? Those chips are pretty notorious among repair guys for just how truly shitty integrated could be, having less features than a bottom of the line AC '97. BTW you think that was dumbshit? With Windows Vista you had to go in and disable any and all CPU power saving like Speedstep and Cool & Quiet because the second the CPU would start parking cores and dropping frequencies? Vista would start scheduling jobs for those chips!

          As for TFA? Its snake oil, pure and simple. A 1 is a 1, a 0 is a 0,an

  • I see they have gold colored print [wordpress.com], that has to boost the sound quality by about 10 bucks. But is Monster selling titanium-plated connectors for them yet? Have any advertisers signed up to preload audio advertisements on the cards? This doesn't seem ready for prime time. Sony, give me a call just as soon as you're ready to start charging me a monthly fee!

    • by nytes ( 231372 )

      But is Monster selling titanium-plated connectors for them yet?

      No, but you might not need them.

      Sony is including a green felt marker to paint he edge of your SD card for only $20 extra!

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @09:17PM (#49092121)
    I have dark confession, I own gold-plated HDMI cable. Now before you judge me...

    ... you judged me anyways! But I got it on Going Out of Business Sale! For 5$ out of a bin! I had to! You too would buy one for $5. They sell them for hundreds to fools!
    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      Monoprice hdmi cables are also gold plated and are 3-5 bucks on a normal day anyway.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @09:39PM (#49092223) Journal
      Gold is a bit overblown in advertising; but (aside from its real physical scarcity, and the unfortunate competition from finance assholes who want to carefully dig it up, refine it, and then have it sit in vaults), it is a genuinely nice ingredient for electrical applications. Adequate thermal and electrical conductivity, immune to most common causes of corrosion, not too difficult to electroplate, fairly easy to tailor from 'shockingly malleable and ductile' to 'adequately hard' just by adding or withholding a few % copper... Good stuff.
    • They sell them for hundreds to fools!

      And they sell $5 cables to fools who really think it's gold.

      • It is real gold. But gold has a lot of interesting properties such as:

        - Even low grade gold such as 8-10k is very corrosion resistant. You don't find 24k gold in electronics.
        - Gold can be melted down and coated in very VERY thin coats. Typical electronic connectors have a coating around 1 micron thick.

        Estimates for the amount of real gold in terms of pure gold cost in a typical cellphone range from $0.30 - $1. With gold coatings on most connectors, and even the non-silkscreened area of the circuit board. Th

      • It's actually pretty hard to fake gold(only Uranium and Tungsten have the right density; but are wrong on everything else, the brasses and bronzes that tepidly approach 'gold' in color don't have the density or chemical properties); but it is much, much, less difficult to deposit it in very, very, thin layers.
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      I got a bunch of Monster video and audio cables, with really nice machined, gold plated RCA ends. They're great, mostly because they were also free out of a dumpster in back of a Best Buy. (I was there looking for a large piece of cardboard for a project)
      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        I have a lot of audio patch cords that clearly come from the same factory as the Monster cables, just with a "DaytonAudio" label instead, that sold for $3-5. It's not like they bad cables or anything. I can't match your price though.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          I have a lot of audio patch cords that clearly come from the same factory as the Monster cables, just with a "DaytonAudio" label instead, that sold for $3-5. It's not like they bad cables or anything. I can't match your price though.

          I've bought a bunch of Monster cables for around that price, only because that was all they had on sale. Basically a store that bought up a bunch of overstock and sold it at huge discounts in original sealed Monster packaging.

          They are nice cables since they don't snag nor have i

      • I got a bunch of Monster video and audio cables, with really nice machined, gold plated RCA ends. They're great, mostly because they were also free out of a dumpster in back of a Best Buy. (I was there looking for a large piece of cardboard for a project)


    • If the connectors aren't gold plated, you risk corrosion damaging them.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @11:25PM (#49092597)

      So do I. There's reasons to go for gold plating. None of them have to do with superior picture but the gold plating is corrosion resistant.

      The only time you don't find gold plating a prevailing option in equipment is on self wiping connections. The type which scrape the surface during the plug / unplug cycle. In those cases you'll often find some kind of cheap silver coating, where silver tarnish is still more conductive than many forms of tin/copper corrosion.

    • Gold plated connectors are really handy in humid environments because gold doesn't corrode.
    • I can do better than that, I own two gold-plated MONSTER DVI CABLES. But wait, I got them at the grocery outlet for $5/each. And they have neato braided jacketing that doesn't hang up on other cables.

      Anyway, gold-plated connectors do seem to corrode less, and in real-world home environments there's often quite a bit of moisture. I'll take what protection I can get.

  • I use mainly Crucial stuff and the sound is not that bad. Doing a "find / ..." produces some low dB noise, but it's nothing compared to the noise coming from the good old mechanical hard disks.
  • Snake oil (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2015 @09:35PM (#49092207)
    I am an actual analog circuit designer, so here is my take:

    First of all, let me start by saying I'm sure, just like everyone else, that these devices have no practical effect on the audio produced by pretty much any practical system. That said, people seem to be confused about the nature of noise in a system.

    As the story correctly notes, digital systems are inherently noise resistant, and often include error correction. There is no SD card or cable in the world that will help improve digital transmission if all the data is already being successfully transmitted. However, analog systems are susceptible to noise. In fact, a significant amount of analog design is dedicated to dealing with noise. In addition to random noise, which is introduced by thermal movement or other random processes in the devices, analog signals are also susceptible to interference, or other nearby signals which can corrupt the analog signal. Nearby electromagnetic fields can couple to analog traces on the board, degrading performance. A significant effort goes into carefully routing and shielding analog traces, as well as moving sources of interference further away.

    High speed digital systems are a large source of interference. The fact that digital systems involve several wires switching at "full swing" at high frequency means that it produces a comparatively large electromagnetic field in the immediate vicinity. Again, a significant effort goes into keeping digital and analog components apart from each other in high quality audio systems. If your analog trace goes next to a memory running at hundreds of MHz, it will effectively increase the noise floor of your audio.

    It is conceivably possible that Sony actually did design an SD card which generates less electromagnetic interference (EMI). This could conceivably lessen the amount of interference coupled into an audio signal somewhere. That said... it's not going to make any difference in reality. If the SD card noise was having a practical effect on your audio then the whole systems was crap to begin with. So, as I think everyone in this thread can agree, this is snake oil.

    • Re:Snake oil (Score:5, Informative)

      by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @11:16PM (#49092571)

      You're an analog designer.
      Imagine how much EMI comes from 5 single ended lines switching at 1.8V at 208MHz.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Let's say you have a 2V p-p signal, pretty common "line level" audio. You have a bog standard 16 bit DAC generating that signal. 1 LSB causes a change of around 30uV. In a typical consumer audio system if you have less than 30mV of noise you are doing pretty well.

      Sony are selling a player capable of 24 bit audio playback, which is known as HD audio. It's becoming popular in Japan. Now 1 LSB is only about 120nV. Nanovolts.

      You are reading music from an SD card. The SD card has a digital interface, with digita

  • $160 for a memory card may be exorbitant, but at least it is a memory card and does something useful.

    while checking for reviews on audio gear (i do appreciate well designed hifi) i saw this review for what looks like a 4" x 6" plastic slab.


    now i have no idea what 'Crystal Technology' is or how it's supposed to work. i'd love it if someone took one of these things and sliced it open to find out what's inside. i suspect it's just a piece of solid

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      What about a $500 wooden volume knob which claims to dampen micro vibrations?

      Audiophiles are clearly idiots. A rich seam of idiots with a lot of money that companies specialise in exploiting by selling expensive tat to.

      As for this Sony thing, the impression appears to be it would offer absolutely no benefit whatsoever to playback though I guess it's conceivable that recording artists and the like would find a use for it if it reduces radio interference when they're trying to record something.

  • by Stinky Cheese Man ( 548499 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @10:40PM (#49092427)
    They sound even better if you run a green magic marker around the edge. Trust me on this.
    • And it is even better if you run a green magic marker around the edge of your ears. And your eyes too for extra credit.

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        I suggest using a red magic marker for the eyes. It will give a warmer appearance to your audio listening activities.

  • Price-wise sounds like their PlayStation VITA 64GB memory cards...
    • Given how ghastly things can get if you try to use a really terrible SD card to do an SSD's job(eg. find the cheapest thing that a camera won't spit out in horror, and then write a liveCD image to it and see how much fun you have), I can understand Sony's desire to guarantee a minimum performance level for an expansion card that they knew would be doing almost nothing but storing executables and art assets.

      What is inexcusable is the fact that they decided to spin an entirely new format for that purpose,
  • This is NOT a scam (Score:3, Informative)

    by Karganeth ( 1017580 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @10:59PM (#49092487)
    reddit comment explains why this is useful https://www.reddit.com/r/techn... [reddit.com]
    • No, it is a scam. You would have to be working with shit equipment for electrical noise from an SD card to contribute anything meaningful to the quality of your audio playback/recording.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bloodhawk ( 813939 )

      No the reddit comment doesn't explain it at all. It is bullshit. Any audio equipment of such low quality as to allow such interference from the SD Card would have so many other problems as to make the SD part insignificant. Any quality equipment where sound matters isn't going to be suffering from such a fatal design flaw.

  • by Nethead ( 1563 ) <joe@nethead.com> on Thursday February 19, 2015 @11:01PM (#49092499) Homepage Journal

    Way back in the day when early digital anything had gobs of TTL and CMOS gate chips I would use a telephone pickup coil to hunt down dead chips.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @11:12PM (#49092553) Homepage Journal

    I'm pretty sure any power-line noise from a memory card is dwarfed by the poor sound quality of the chip amps used on most portable audio devices.

    As to non-portable devices, the noise of case and laptop fans and even the chirp of hard drives seeking drown out any "feedback noise" I get even from the chip amps used in my computers to drive the speakers. While I do spring for low-dB fans whenever I'm replacing them, they still produce an emphatic whoosh in the background no matter how good they are.

    Whan I want to really listen to music, I far prefer my Sony noise-cancelling ear-cup headphones to using speakers. Ambient noise in this place is just too high to really enjoy music any other way. And I suspect the same is true of most homes that don't have dedicated sound rooms with thousands of dollars invested in baffling, damping, and so forth.

    • I'm pretty sure any power-line noise from a memory card is dwarfed by the poor sound quality of the chip amps used on most portable audio devices.

      Yes and no. If your amplifier is taking a microwatt-level signal and turning it into a milliwatt-level signal, you're also amplifying any noise by a factor of 1000 or more. GIGO comes to mind; now, your low-quality chip amp might put out garbage either way, but at least you can filter out some of the smellier stuff, if you catch my drift.

    • by GWBasic ( 900357 )

      I just bought a Sony Xperia Z3 phone. The sound amp chips on that phone are very high quality.

      Honestly, the concept of a "Sony" audiophile SD card is tempting, for two reasons:

      • There's a lot of finicky SD cards out there, and buying the phone with a "Sony" SD card lowers perceived risk of getting a finicky SD card.
      • The high-frequency interference issues that many other posters discuss.

      I did get a 128GB card for my phone. If there was a Sony Audiophile card available, and it was only 20-30% more expensive tha

  • I can hear my CPU and GPU through my headphones on my computer so this isn't completely ridiculous but pretty ridiculous.
  • Do I need this if I can spool up the entire audio file to RAM before playing? It might be annoying to have such a delay for playback though. For recording it seems like less of a problem as long as your audio buffer is very large. Rough estimate is a 4 track at 196 kHz 24-bit would eat 1GB ever 7.7 minutes. So maybe 16 GB of RAM needed to buffer a 2 hour session (really bare minimum to be practical in my opinion). Seems like it's possible now but what kind of noise does a 64-bit ARMv8 and 16 GB of LPDDR4 ad

    • The only people who need their audio to be this clean are people who are recording it, and they will get quiet audio by using an external sound card.

  • This could actually make a difference for portable devices with crap power supplies or crap/dying batteries. No jokes. Of course, proper decoupling on the SD reader circuit, and/or proper power filtering, would have the same effect. I would imagine, though, that this card, if it works as advertised, would reduce distortion and noise on lower-end (maybe not bottom of the barrel) MP3 players that lack proper decoupling and filtering; and when the price gap between the low-end and high-end players is more than
    • Good point. If the SD card power filtering is parallel to the circuit of the rest of the player, it might even give some extra power filtering to the analog stage.
    • The SD controller is inside the SoC, so you need to add filtering someplace, you can't just isolate the circuit. But nothing you do to the SD card will improve the DAC, which is the real reason why most portable audio hardware blows. The DAC itself introduces more distortion than you get from device noise, so who cares?

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday February 20, 2015 @09:48AM (#49094007)

    So, let me get this straight. A "professional" pop artist today walks into a studio to drop a track, which is then Autotuned, excited, boosted, compressed, and otherwise destroyed by post-processing...

    ...and we're now worried about macro-levels of electrical noise coming from the memory card?

    Perhaps we should worry more about what we define as an "artist" these days.

  • They used PT Barnum for their marketing analysis: (paraphrased) "There is a potential customer born every minute."

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.